Monday, October 26, 2015

Stepping Stone Falls

In spite of what you might think because I live near Flint, we really do have some nice areas.  We have a wonderful county park system along the Flint River.  One of these areas is called Stepping Stone Falls.  Realistically, it is a dam.  What makes this interesting is the dam spillway is done in a series of stairs.  It is unique as far as I know.
I do like photographs of waterfalls, large and small.  The study of water and motion can be expressed in many ways.  Water shot fast and slow can be interesting in its own way.
Here is the first of what will be more than a few shots from the day.  This will show about 2/3s of the spillway.

1/50   f/22
EV -2.0
Aperture Priority
ISO 200
Focal Length 18 mm
Focal Length (35 mm) 27 mm

Being is was a fairly dark environment, I'm going to try to keep the final product dark as well.  But I want to make the water stand out - mostly white.  
There are also some trees just over the top of the wall that are a bit distracting to me.  They have to go.  I'd like to keep the sky - it has real character and should look interesting with HDR processing.  I'm going to try something new to get the look over the wall.
This is the photo with neutral HDR processing.

I like what HDR sharpening will do for the concrete, and I'd like to keep that in mind.  The shot at f/22 really had the depth of field sharp all the way through which is a big help.  I can tell for me to get the look I want, the far waterfall is going to need some help. 
In this step, I really want to remove the trees from the top of the far wall.  What I'm going to try is using two image layers.  I will mask out the sky and trees on the top layer.  I will stretch the bottom layer down and as a result the trees will drop behind the wall of the top layer.  Spoiler Alert:  It all worked, in the final image there are no trees.

I like with is going to happen with this.  But I got a bit of an unexpected surprise.  I started to notice a few blemishes.  Sure enough, looking at my UV filter I had some small water spots.  Note to self, when working near moving water some will wind up where it is not supposed to be.  Take a cleaning cloth with you.  Easy to remove with most programs.  After cleaning this up a bit, this is the image I will use.  In my post processing, I used two layers of this to remove the trees at the top of the cement walls as explained earlier.  Again, I think most post processing applications can do what I did.  I also noticed there was some chromatic aberrations on the center and left of the image.  I used my new application to remove the CA in the center.  The CA on the left will have to be cropped out.  And that will not alter what I have in mind for this at all.
The final image to work with is this:

The final crop will take care of the wall on the right.  I'll also crop out the stairs on the left so there won't be anything left to the imagination.  

This is a bit darker that what I normally like.  In this case I like it.  The day was no gem to work with - so the final image should be dark as well.

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